Hi,

Harry Houdini died on this day in 1926, Mt Rushmore was completed in 1941, one of my favorites on NPR, Car Talk, started in 1987 (they retired last year and play re-runs which I missed many anyway), of course well all know tomorrow is Halloween and Samhah in the Wiccan calendar.  Birth anniversaries include Chiang Kai-Shek (1887), poet John Keats (1795), girl scout founder Juliette Gordon Low (1860) and singer Ethel Waters (1896).

I was replacing a broken window today on the front porch and da boiz were with me for awhile.  I came in the house and left da boiz in there and came back out to do some finishing touches on the window and RJ was on the porch.  I’m thinking what’s he doing on the porch, I left him in the Courtyard.  Then I noticed someone put a blue collar on him.  Then I noticed he was a she.  She could be RJ’s identical twin.  She was with us for an hour or so before her owner came to claim the run-away.  :)  Da boiz and her had a grand time in the Courtyard chasing each other and doing other dog things.  :)

The New York Times ran an article about farm subsidies in September.  Farm subsidies were set up to assist farmers through rough times and cyclical low priced farm prices.  Adjusting for inflation, since 1976 five of the highest farm income years have been since 2004.  A GAO report issued last year shows that 2,300 recipients had grown no crops in five years and 622 have grown no crops for ten years.  Much of this goes to wealthy people that own farm land.  The American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest farmer’s organization has adopted a position that they would not oppose elimination of the “direct payment” system, particularly if the funds went to a fund to support farm insurance for the cyclical downturns.  I’d say that’s a decent way to ensure that our farmers futures without making some rich richer.

This past summer’s Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix blew  the doors off past fund raising for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.  Last year they raised $250,000 for Autism, this year they raised $350,000.  I believe PVGP is a totally volunteer endeavor.   Way to go PVGP!

Have you heard of  graphene?  I did awhile ago, but I haven’t been very clear on exactly it is and it’s potentials. There was a great article on it in the Trib Sunday.  Graphene is a sheet of carbon one atom thick, how amazing is that?  It is the strongest material around and the thinnest.  It conducts heat and electricity better than copper and silicon and it is impermeable to helium, helium is so small that it can penetrate steel tanks.  It is as flexible as rubber and as clear as lightly tinted glass.  Anticipated applications include room temperature super computers, faster computers overall, lighter transportation vehicles (cars, airplane, etc), improved battery charging times (estimated cell phone charging could be as low at 15 seconds and cars in 15 minutes), medicine (they are working on a sensor that has 100 squares that can be individually calibrated for each to pick up something else from our breath without taking blood), transparent solar cells that can be wrapped around buildings, embedded sensors (like cooking pans that can detect bacteria) and even even more impervious fracking well liners.

The Compass Inn Museum in Laughlintown (near Ligonier) will be hosting their Christmas candle light tours weekends starting the last weekend in November and for the following two weekends.  Compass Inn was an old stage coach inn that has been totally renovated and furnished in period pieces.  The tour includes the seven rooms in the Inn (the common room, serving kitchen, ladies parlor and the four guest rooms) as well as three reconstructed buildings (the cook house, smithy and barn).  Tickets are just $9 for adults and discounts for seniors and students.  More information on their website or by calling 724-2384983.

On October 13th, Entropy Syndicate, a guerrilla art group staged Water Foul, a take off on our beloved and departed Duck.  It was an over sized can of Campbell’s Duck Soup.  :)  They had a lot of difficulties keeping the “can” upright and water tight (the paper label disintegrated) in the water.  But they get an A for effort and creativity.

Alright, you figure this one out.  The federal government just gave the OK for chickens processed in China to be sold in the US for human consumption.  But, the chickens have to be raised here (or in Canada or Chile), butchered here and then sent to China for processing.  And then shipped back??????????  Makes no sense to me.  This is the country where they wear masks in the cities because the pollution is so bad and they find 6,000 dead pigs floating in Huangpu River in Shanghai and can’t explain it.  The Chinese pet food industry is being blamed on 600 American pet deaths from tainted dog treats.  And we’re going to let them supply processed foods for human consumption?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty much OK with the Chinese, for the abject poverty that gripped that nation not that long ago to where they stand now is pretty amazing.  They really need to crack down on their pollution and quality controls and until they do, I don’t think we should be importing foods from them.  And I really don’t understand how anyone can make money shipping frozen chickens 6,500 miles to China and then back can make any money.  Someone told me that this was all about opening the door for permitting imported processed foods into the US from China and that makes sense.

Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson have announced they will voluntarily start making products without microbeads, or at least with biodegradable ones.  L’Oreal announced they won’t develop products with microbeads.  Microbeads are those tiny (some you need a microscope) that are so small, they slip through treatment plants into the water causing serious problems with aquatic life.  My hat goes off to responsible (and voluntary) to companies that respect our environment.

The Wendell August Forge has reopened their new $8M facility after fire consumed the 75+ year manufacturing and retail complex.  They hand craft gifts and collectables that can be engraved and personalized.  With the larger facility, they almost doubled their employment and ramped up their distribution areas.  Of the $8M it took to rebuild it, $4M was a grant.  That’s the bad news on state money, the good news is it went to a small business instead of one of the mega companies that usually seem to be the recipient of government largess.

Well, that’s it for today.  I’m expecting a phone call for a conference call any minute to get instructions on better ways to handle ACT, my data base mgmt system.  I’m pretty good at it, but know my weaknesses and Alan said they’re easily explained.  I look forward to it.  Have a great one,

ed

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